Look at that Spinach and Cranberry Quinoa Salad - isn't it gorgeous? I thought it would win a prize. I really did.
Back in October I saw the 20 Minute Supper Club website requesting submissions for quinoa salad recipes. The recipes would be up through November for site visitors to vote on, and the winner would win a fabulous Kitchen Aid prize package.
So I went in the kitchen and I created this Spinach and Cranberry Quinoa Salad to take to a dinner party. It was delicious. I created the salad two weeks before the contest deadline so I would be able to tweak it if necessary, but I was very satisfied with my first taste test. I brought the salad to a party and it was such a hit they didn't send the leftovers home with me.
The photos came out pretty kickass for me, I must say. I was sure this proved that I was destined to win.
Unfortunately, I didn't read the rules and regulations for the contest ahead of time, and when I went to submit my entry I found I wasn't qualified to enter. I had my suspicions when I saw the word "favourite" and then I came to the "residents of Canada" part.
Wahhh. I am an American and darn it, I wish I had read the rules at first so I wouldn't feel so let down.
Now that I have gotten that off my chest and have had a few weeks to completely kick myself for my mistake, I have decided it is time to share my creation with all of you.
Spinach and Cranberry Quinoa Salad
1 tbsp red quinoa
1 cup white quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup grated carrots
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, halved
3 cups baby spinach
3 tbsp toasted, salted squash seeds
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 pkts of sugar substitute
Rinse the quinoa. Bring the quinoa to a boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes to absorb all the water.
When water is absorbed, stir in 1 cup frozen corn and place in refrigerator for an hour to cool (or overnight if desired). If you are not a fan of raw onions and garlic you could stir them in with the corn so the warm quinoa can cook them until it cools.
Add carrots, onions, garlic, cranberries and spinach to the cooled quinoa and corn mixture. Whisk together the dressing and drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Top with toasted squash seeds.
I used fresh cranberries because I had them on hand, and then I ended up adding sugar substitute because the salad was too tart and I was preparing this for my mom who is diabetic. You could use 1/4 cup of dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries and omit the sweetener because dried cranberries are presweetened. Or you could use any sugar/sweetener you prefer with the fresh cranberries.
This being squash season, I have plenty of seeds each week to toast and add to salads and casseroles. If you don't have any seeds to use, I am sure sliced almonds would work as well.
I hope you are having fun with quinoa and learning new ways to integrate fresh ingredients into your lifestyle. This Spinach and Cranberry Quinoa Salad is a colorful and tasty way to introduce friends and family to quinoa.
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